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Title: Forcing the issue on radiation policy

Abstract

For those frustrated by an inability to get a fair hearing on evidence that challenges current radiation policy, the recent case of a group of tobacco interests suing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Federal court on its policy on second-hand smoke has important implications for radiation policy. The issue was only tangentially about tobacco; its main thrust was at EPA`s arbitrary and capricious rule-making process. The EPA is at least as vulnerable to the same charges in the radiation area, particularly with respect to radon. Radiation protection is associated in many people`s minds with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but other agencies have also been involved. Radon, like second-hand smoke, has been tolerated for generations, and EPA has the burden of proving that it is a public hazard. The law and the unwritten rules of science are quite explicit in defining what must be done to make such a finding. In the case of radon, there is no prior basis for public concern. In fact, the public uses radium spas with radon concentrations up to one million times as high as the EPA permissible limit. In many countries, such spa usage is formally prescribed by physicians andmore » paid for by national health insurance. The health effects, if any, from radon, as from second-hand smoke, are hard to quantify. But, this does not justify--in either case--the EPA`s straying from its published criteria and procedures for testing whether such health effects occur. A Federal court has now demonstrated its willingness to judge and strike down the EPA`s actions regarding second-hand smoke on their own merits, without attempting to be an arbiter of science. The result is a welcome breath of fresh air and an object lesson for those concerned about the mounting costs of treating radon as a major public health hazard.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. MPR Associates, Chevy Chase, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
678093
Report Number(s):
CONF-990605-
Journal ID: TANSAO; ISSN 0003-018X; TRN: 99:009079
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Transactions of the American Nuclear Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 80; Conference: 1999 annual meeting of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), Boston, MA (United States), 6-10 Jun 1999; Other Information: PBD: 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING AND POLICY; GOVERNMENT POLICIES; RADIATION PROTECTION; RADON; US EPA; HEALTH HAZARDS

Citation Formats

Rockwell, T. Forcing the issue on radiation policy. United States: N. p., 1999. Web.
Rockwell, T. Forcing the issue on radiation policy. United States.
Rockwell, T. Wed . "Forcing the issue on radiation policy". United States.
@article{osti_678093,
title = {Forcing the issue on radiation policy},
author = {Rockwell, T.},
abstractNote = {For those frustrated by an inability to get a fair hearing on evidence that challenges current radiation policy, the recent case of a group of tobacco interests suing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Federal court on its policy on second-hand smoke has important implications for radiation policy. The issue was only tangentially about tobacco; its main thrust was at EPA`s arbitrary and capricious rule-making process. The EPA is at least as vulnerable to the same charges in the radiation area, particularly with respect to radon. Radiation protection is associated in many people`s minds with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but other agencies have also been involved. Radon, like second-hand smoke, has been tolerated for generations, and EPA has the burden of proving that it is a public hazard. The law and the unwritten rules of science are quite explicit in defining what must be done to make such a finding. In the case of radon, there is no prior basis for public concern. In fact, the public uses radium spas with radon concentrations up to one million times as high as the EPA permissible limit. In many countries, such spa usage is formally prescribed by physicians and paid for by national health insurance. The health effects, if any, from radon, as from second-hand smoke, are hard to quantify. But, this does not justify--in either case--the EPA`s straying from its published criteria and procedures for testing whether such health effects occur. A Federal court has now demonstrated its willingness to judge and strike down the EPA`s actions regarding second-hand smoke on their own merits, without attempting to be an arbiter of science. The result is a welcome breath of fresh air and an object lesson for those concerned about the mounting costs of treating radon as a major public health hazard.},
doi = {},
journal = {Transactions of the American Nuclear Society},
number = ,
volume = 80,
place = {United States},
year = {1999},
month = {9}
}